Thursday, October 31, 2013

We Are Rich!

Uncle Mulu (David Family Father)

"We are rich!"  The words caught me by surprise. It was just before 6:00 in the evening.  The smell of freshly baked pumpkin cake lingered in the kitchen.  The cake had been baked for Uncle Mulu the father of our family group.  It was his birthday and the kids wanted to celebrate.  One of the girls came after school to bake the cake and as we waited for it to cool we began chatting about the tree outside our back door. 







I'd been told by several people that the jackfruit were
ready. Under the bumpy green skin is sticky orange flesh which I must admit is a bit of an acquired taste.  The kids in our family group love them and so when I offered one to the family, Agnes raced off home for a bike to transport it.  Arriving back in record time, she scampered up the tree, twisted the stem and gave a cry of delight as the jackfruit landed on the ground with a resounding thud.  After strapping the jackfruit on the bike she rode off happily calling out, "We are rich."  How she captured the joy of that moment.  Gifts for her family had made her rich. 



Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A Clothesline With A View



 As I went outside to collect the clothes from the line the other day I couldn't help but marvel at the view. A gentle breeze blew softly as the sun cast long shadows on the green grass. Folding laundry with this view is a joy.

The view the next day wasn't quite so picturesque.  High winds whipped clothes off the line as fast as we could pick them up and folding them was out of the question. There are days my life feels a bit like those wind blown clothes and I'm glad for the Heavenly Hands that pick me up and set me straight and remind me that He's the one in control on the calm days and the windy ones.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Exams

Every now and then I'm tempted to post under the title TIA (This is Africa). 
The S4's have begun writing their national exams this week.  Uganda has a long history of corruption associated with these exams with teachers, students and officials equally to blame.  In an effort to stem some of the cheating outside invigilators are brought in, the exams are delivered to district offices and must be picked up just before an exam begins, and teachers are not permitted anywhere near their students around exam time.  This Tuesday one of the exams was postponed and to ensure that no further teaching went on police officers turned up at our secondary school to ensure that the students were not being taught.  In a country where teachers frequently do not turn up to teach it seemed rather ironic that they would send the police to check that teachers weren't teaching!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Kampala


Kampala, the largest city in Uganda is built around six hills.  David and I had a better sense of how hilly the city really is while staying overnight there last weekend.  Our guesthouse was perched way up on a hill just in front of The Church of Uganda cathedral and commanded a fabulous view of the city.  Modern office buildings and the Gaddafi mosque dominated the scene.  As Friday wore on, the Muslim call to prayer was mixed with the sounds from a brass band who were serenading a wedding party at the cathedral.



As the sun began to set we hailed a boda (motorcycle) and headed off to find an Ethiopian restaurant we were interested in trying.  Travel by boda is often the fastest way to get around this congested city and is guaranteed to bring an adrenalin rush.  Women typically ride side saddle but since David and I were sharing the boda I straddled the seat behind the driver and held on for dear life.  Following the maxim "an inch is as good as a mile" our driver sped through traffic dodging cars, trucks, bicycles, pedestrians and most importantly other bodas.  As we approached intersections or entered roundabouts I decided it was better not to look.





Before I knew it we stopped in front of the restaurant, paid our fare and then sank gratefully into our outdoor seats.  The Chef's special was a superb platter of Ethiopian dishes which we thoroughly enjoyed. Then it was back on a boda for a return trip to our guesthouse where we sipped tea in a banda overlooking the city.



The next day we were able to visit a Scottish nurse, who is working with an organization ministering to street children called Dwelling Places.  Although Kampala has a growing middle class and an elite of extremely rich folks, there is also a vast number of poor people who inhabit the slums of the city.  Children, many of them fleeing desperate poverty or rebel activity in the north of the country make up some of the children on the streets.  Others are the victims of abuse or abandonment.  The Dwelling Places staff work on the streets ministering to these forgotten children.  Imagine the challenges of working with children who have never slept in a bed, eaten meals at set times or attended school.  The staff offer medical care, housing where appropriate, schooling and eventually resettlement with family if possible.  It was very helpful for us to meet someone who has such a breadth of experience in a Childcare ministry in Uganda.  Check out their website if you're interesting in knowing more about their work.
Following our visit we hopped on another boda to meet up with some New Hope staff who were travelling back to Kasana.  As we sped through the busy Saturday afternoon traffic my eyes caught sight of a scripture verse printed on the back of a boda driver's vest.  "Trust in The Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him and he will make your path straight."   How apt, not only for riding on bodas but also for the work we and others are engaged in here in Uganda.